The Internet article had to do with gifted children and why they have a higher tendency to experience depression, or to be more specific, "existential" depression. Said gifted children, devoting more of their time to abstract thought rather than mundane matters, are considered more likely to be idealistic, perceiving the world as they think it ought to be. But since it is not how they think it ought to be, they frequently become frustrated with reality, withdraw into themselves, and become depressed and experience a deep feeling of meaninglessness that their dream world won't be realized.
Now, this article (here's the link) may not be worth much. It's one writer's musings, based in some scientific studies but not scientific itself, so take it with a grain of salt, of course. But from my own experience, I think there is some truth to it, so let's just say that his argument is broadly true. What application does this have for politics?
Well, for youngsters of such a mindset, it's not hard to see how they would be attracted to leftist ideologies. They see an imperfect world, they're more upset by this than others, they get more upset that these imperfections don't bother everyone, and they begin casting about for a solution, some philosophy or proposal that claims to solve everything. That's....pretty much textbook "ism" formation. Rousseau, Marx, Lenin, all those lovely people started out as frustrated young men searching for a way to make the world perfect, so it makes sense that other people of a similar temperament would be drawn to their collectivist solutions.
And as the article notes, the gifted have an especially weak connection to "irrational" justifications like tradition. Granted, the youth in general tend not to hold the status quo in such high regard as older generations, but this tends to be a bigger problem for the smarter kids, who put much greater stock in logic and consistency, and don't want to hear some policy or institution being defended because that's how it is, or changing it would be too disruptive. It doesn't make sense to them, therefore it is indefensible.
There's more that goes into it, of course. But this explanation seems to me to make a lot of sense. It also explains the common myth that liberals are smarter than conservatives--the Left tends to draw in smarter individuals, but for reasons only indirectly related to their intellect.
It's also worth noting that this process doesn't always play out. Take me, for instance--not to toot my own horn, but I was certainly closer to what you would call "gifted" than anyone else I knew growing up. Very smart, kind of a bookworm, introverted to the point of being socially awkward--you know the drill. However, I never had this existential crisis the writer describes. Why, I can't really say. But I think it's because I had a consistent outward tug--if not to get a wide net of friends, at least to associate with other people somewhat--that kept me from disappearing completely into my own little world. Also, I had (and still have) a great love for my little hometown, as poor and redneck as it may be, and I suppose that appreciation for my surroundings as they were kept me from buying into schemes for a perfect world and whatever. It's not that I didn't notice flaws, but I preferred the warts-and-all reality to any prospect of radical change.
I think that sentiment was a key to my evolution into an active conservative. So if you want to keep your kids from becoming liberals--well, I don't know, nothing's foolproof, but maybe find ways to get them to take joy in their current situation, rather than get mesmerized by some ideal. That might or might not be enough, but I think it would help.
On a different note, this will be my last weekly post for some time. Graduate school, never a cakewalk, is making some impossible demands on my time for the next few months, so I have to give that first priority. Hopefully I can come back and contribute some posts more regularly after that's done, but in any case, I'll still be around somewhat for the commenting. Until then, thanks for reading and commenting on my occasionally-useful articles. :-)